Chow Bella

FnB Line Cook Minerva Orduño Launches Muñeca Mexicana Product Line

Minerva Orduño Rincón, the pig-tailed line cook at FnB, swears she's not a pastry person by nature, citing her lack of patience for "all that measuring" as the reason.

But the proof is in the pudding, or, in this case, the coyota ($3), an utterly delicious little Mexican pastry she began selling two weeks ago at Bodega Market -- FnB's winsome baby sister, which sells local produce and locally made products. On the same shelf, you'll also find her second new product, Cajeta de Celaya -- goat's milk caramel sauce (a specialty of Celaya), which also goes by the name "dulce de leche." The cajeta is wonderfully rich and creamy, with just a hint of tang from the goat's milk. Good on ice cream, waffles, crepes and equally amazing straight from the jar ($10).

Orduño's brand-spanking-new brand, Muñeca Mexicana ("Mexican doll" in Spanish), comes from childhood, when her dad gave her the pet name "Doll." Her label, which shows a big-eyed, pig-tailed girl with pink and lavender bows in her hair, was designed by Carla Venini of talkback design. The two work together at FnB.

Already, both products are receiving rave reviews on Facebook from customers and friends, including professional dessert-maker extraordinaire Tracy Dempsey, who knows a thing or two about pastries herself.

For my part, I think Orduño's coyota surpasses just about any Mexican baked good I've ever eaten, and here's why:

Because of its round, ever so slightly domed shape, the coyota looks like a puffy dark brown cookie, but its crisp-tender, wonderfully flaky texture is more reminiscent of pie dough. Pie dough filled with piloncillo, the hard Mexican brown sugar (made from pure sugar cane juice) that comes in cones and tastes infinitely richer than soft American brown sugar.

And just so you know, Orduño's dough is made with my favorite four-letter word: L-A-R-D.

So simple and so damn good.

Wondering about the name? In Mexico, "coyota" is a slang term for a person of mixed ethnicity. It's also a pastry specialty of Hermosillo, Minerva's hometown in Sonora.

Orduño says coyotas are hard to find in other parts of Mexico, much less here in the States.

In the next few weeks, Orduño plans to expand her product repertoire. We can expect more sauces (some savory) as well as a crumbly almond cookie called polvorones. Look for updates on Orduño's Facebook page.

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Nikki Buchanan